Remember Rembrandt’s “Woman Bathing in a Stream,” Degas’ “Woman in the Tub” and Renoir’s “Woman after Bathing“? For some reason (which I don’t even want to think about the psycho-socio analysis of) the traditional painters loved using bathing women as their subjects. Brooklyn-based artist Alyssa Monks takes the traditional figure of a bathing woman and pushes it into the realm of the contemporary.
Monks’ subjects are painted from behind water, glass, and steam where their faces and bodies blur and distort. Some of the images verge on the disturbing, but they are stunningly executed and thought-provoking. The artist provides a special section on her website where you can see high-resolution images of her work. The thick brushstrokes of paint, some pushing and pulling the colors, others swirling, are lovely.
From her website, Monks writes, “When I began painting the human body, I was obsessed with it and needed to create as much realism as possible. I chased realism until it began to unravel and deconstruct itself… I am exploring the possibility and potential where representational painting and abstraction meet – if both can coexist in the same moment.”